EP Review: Midnight In Manhattan (John Jenkins) – Travelogue EP


As always I am going to be up front and honest straight from the off here; I am so far out of my comfort zone right now it’s untrue. I am so far off the beaten track I have no idea how I got here. So if you are an expert in this genre and have a serious knowledge about what I’m trying to discuss here forgive my clunky-ness.

In the ‘press pack’ that I received along with this EP this record was described as;

Fuses elements of late night Manhattan jazz clubs, Parisian cafe life, Manhattan Latino, a taste of the Orient where Tangerine Dream meets Mike Oldfield and Electronica meets acoustic

Frankly I am an expert in precisely none of that but I believe that music is a universal langue and that everyone regardless of who they are can talk ‘music’ so here goes.

Travelogue is an instrumental project from Liverpool based songwriter John Jenkins. The EP is broken down into 4 tracks but for all intents and purposes this is also very much one piece of continuous music.

Opening track Midnight In Manhattan is so silky smooth, it carries that classic smooth and sultry jazz sound. This really stems from the trumpet which glides effortlessly over the track. The title of the song fits the sound of it down to the ground. When you close your eyes and press play in your mind you’re immediately strolling down a moonlit Manhattan sidewalk.

Title track Travelogue is however a completely different affair, to start with its 12 minutes long, full of many different phases and fluctuations. The first section has a kind of Asian slant to it but I felt like when the more electronic elements were added the whole thing kind of lost its flow a little bit. It didn’t ruin the song or the record or anything like that by any means but it lost me a bit there for a moment; however when the more traditional Jazz elements returned I was firmly back on board.

Promenade is almost an interlude but even across this short span you can’t escape the unmistakable Parisian flavour. Again the thing that really appeals to me is the songs smoothness, it’s beyond easy listening.

The curtain is brought down on the musical adventure with Evenings In Manhattan. At times the song is only a heartbeat away from becoming a house track but in the end that’s a divide that remains uncrossed. There are strong echoes of the opener and as a result it feels like everything has gone full circle, the song bookends the project really nicely.

I am under no illusions as to the fact that in no shape or form am I the target audience for this EP, however that doesn’t mean that I can’t appreciate it. I love its smoothness and for almost its entirety it carries a sultry enticing nature. I was only lost briefly during the more electronica based sections but those moments were only fleeting.

Travelogue isn’t my bag in the slightest but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate good music when I hear it. Despite momentary lapses the record is smooth, effortless and transports you to a world where everything seems that little bit easier. A musical adventure of the most relaxing order, if Jazz is your thing Travelogue is a trip well worth taking.


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